Saint for the day: Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – April 17, 1680)
Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19 – Psalm 102 – Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are burdened and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy, my burden light.”
These few words, taken from today’s Gospel, are jam-packed with imagery – even for us city-dwellers who have little actual experience with working the land. It takes a certain amount of true humility to allow us to be “yoked” to another – even to be yoked to Jesus. But this is where the imagery is most beautiful: to be “humble” really means being “well-grounded.” The word comes from the Latin word, “humus” meaning ground or earth. No room here for important CEO’s sitting in plush offices pushing buttons of dispatch.
Come, come unto me, and let us work together to make the ground fertile for accomplishing the 100 fold that I promise. My yoke is “easy” – really meaning, “well-fitting” or “tailor-made.” God knows us through and through. He “formed us and knit us together in our mother’s wombs” and He will not put us in any situation that is beyond our ability to stay yoked with Jesus as we make the journey along the way.
We know what happens when we decide that we can “make it on our own,” I can’t help but think back to the 1960’s when the “hippy era” was all the rage in the US. The cry was “freedom from all forms of oppression” and the sky was the limit. No rules. No order to anything.
If we apply this notion to the images in today’s Gospel we can see what the “fruit” will be: no straight, easy-to-tend-rows; seeds planted in zigzag fashion with most of the effort landing on rocky soil where the sun burns them to a crisp. How easy this fits to the term that was common at the end of the “hippy era:” They are a people who are burned out!
When we are “yoked with Jesus” we can experience what I call, the “Footprints in the sand” and we see that Jesus carries us along and takes most of the burden on His own shoulders.
“Lord, Jesus, give me the grace to allow you to fit that yoke to me which really means you will carry most of the load.” Amen! How sweet it is!